Sexism Kills off the Ward Sister; Hospitals Abolish Job Title as 'Too Gender-Specific'

Daily Mail (London), May 4, 2010 | Go to article overview

Sexism Kills off the Ward Sister; Hospitals Abolish Job Title as 'Too Gender-Specific'


Byline: Sophie Borland

FOR decades she has been queen of all she surveys, organising her patients' care and offering a guiding hand to more junior colleagues.

Now the ward sister has become the victim of a very modern disease - political correctness.

Hospitals are abolishing the job title 'sister' to describe senior nurses because it is deemed to be sexist.

They have changed it to 'ward manager' to reflect the fact that the role is carried out by men as well as women.

Hospital executives say they are working hard to stop patients and staff using the word on the wards 'because it is too gender specific'.

But campaigners warned that patients would be confused by the new title.

They said hospitals should be concentrating on improving patient care rather than changing titles.

They added that it was further evidence that hospitals were being taken over by bureaucrats who were treating them like businesses.

Among the hospitals that have recently stopped using the job title are those run by Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly NHS Trust.

A spokesman said the trust had 'worked hard' to erase the term from wards as part of its 'equality and diversity action plan'.

He added that although some patients may prefer the term sister - as it was 'more familiar' - its use was 'not encouraged' on the wards.

A spokesman for Birmingham Women's Hospital said it had changed the job title because ward sister was deemed to be 'old fashioned'.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, did away with it because more men are taking up the role of supervising all patients on a ward. 'The reason for the change was to reflect the diversity of postholders,' a spokesman said.

'Over time the high ratio of female senior nurse leaders was changing and the title ward sister did not reflect the male contribution. …

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